Consone Quartet team up with NCEM and BBC Radio 3 for Young Composers Award

Consone Quartet: Partners in the NCEM Young Composers Award 2022

COMPOSERS aged 25 and under are invited to write a new work for string quartet for the NCEM Young Composers Award 2022.

Each year, the award is presented by the National Centre for Early Music, in York, in association with BBC Radio 3. For 2022, they are delighted to welcome the Consone Quartet, the BBC New Generation Artists, as creative partners, as announced on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show on November 21.

Composers are asked to write a new piece – three to four minutes in length – for string quartet, working alongside the Consone Quartet’s Agata Daraškaite, Magdalena Loth-Hill, Elitsa Bogdanova and George Ross, who play ‘period’ instruments using gut strings.

For next year’s award entries, they invite young composers to learn about the musical sound world of one of their favourite composers, Fanny Mendelssohn, a talented pianist who wrote 400 works but never enjoyed the acclaim that brother Felix received.  “This is the opportunity to create a new piece which explores this fascinating time in musical history,” they say.

Shortlisted composers will be invited to the Award Day at the NCEM, at St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, when the shortlisted compositions will be presented by the Consone Quartet in a workshop led by composer Professor Christopher Fox.  In the evening, the Consone Quartet will perform each of the pieces for a panel of judges.

The two winning pieces, one from each age category (see below), will be premiered by the Consone Quartet at Stour Music Festival on June 26 2022, when the performance will be recorded for future broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.

This major national annual award is open to young composers up to the age of 25, resident in the UK, and is divided into two categories: 18 and under and 19 to 25.

NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “The Young Composers Award is one of the most important dates in the NCEM’s calendar and gives us a vital opportunity to work with the wider community. Last year, we received an astonishing number of applications from all over the UK and we’re sure that enthusiasm to take part will just keep on growing.

NCEM director Delma Tomlin: “Thrilled to be working with the Consone Quartet”

“For 2022, we’re thrilled to be working with the Consone Quartet, who will be guiding the shortlisted composers and performing their pieces. They’ll be joined in York by composer Professor Christopher Fox to host a day of workshops with the shortlisted candidates before the public performance in the evening. 

“This year, the compositions will be performed at the prestigious Stour Music Festival and, of course, broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show – a brilliant beginning for any young composer.”

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3 and classical music, says: “As Covid  restrictions lift and we are able to celebrate the return of live music to UK stages, BBC Radio 3 believes it is vital to give appreciation and encouragement to young composers and performers who represent the future of music in this country.

“That is why we are so proud to partner with the National Centre for Early Music’s 2022 Young Composer Award. Each year, it enables us to help audiences at home discover the brightest talents in Early Music practice, broadcasting their works on our Early Music Show.”

Consone Quartet are “thrilled to be joining forces” with the NCEM for the Young Composers Award. “Having competed in the NCEM’s International Young Artists Competition, we appreciate how much these sorts of opportunities can help to kickstart a young musician’s career,” they say. “We cannot wait to hear what the shortlisted composers have written, to work in more detail with them and eventually to perform their works.”

The Young Composers Award is an integral part of the NCEM’s work, with comments from the 2021 awards illustrating the impact and importance of the experience. Witness: “I have gained confidence in myself. Hearing my piece come to life was an incredible experience,” said one. “Great contacts and lots of fun!” said another. “Christopher Fox’s insightful comments, always thinking outside the box,” enthused a third.

The deadline for registration is 12 noon on Friday, February 18 2022; the deadline for submission of scores is 12 noon, Friday, March 18. Shortlisted candidates will be informed by April 8 and will be invited to attend the Award Day in York on May 19.

Terms and conditions and details of how to take part in the NCEM Young Composers Award 2022 are available at: youngcomposersaward.co.uk/2022 or by emailing info.composers@ncem.co.uk.

L’Apothéose in the grounds of the National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, York, after winning the York International Young Artists Competition in 2019. Picture: Jim Poyner

YOUNG ENSEMBLES SOUGHT FOR YORK INTERNATIONAL YOUNG ARTISTS COMPETITION 2022

CALLING young ensembles of the world: the deadline for applications for next year’s York International Young Artists Competition is January 14 2022.

This prestigious longstanding competition for young ensembles will take place on Saturday, July 16 at the National Centre for Early Music as part of next summer’s York Early Music Festival. 

The first prize includes a recording contract from Linn Records: a £1,000 prize; opportunities to work with BBC Radio 3 and a concert at the 2023 York Early Music Festival.

Other prizes include: the Friends of York Early Music Festival Prize; the Cambridge Early Music Prize and a prize for The Most Promising Young Artist/s endowed by the EUBO Development Trust.  

The competition is open to Early Music ensembles with a minimum of three members; ensembles must have an average age of 33 years or under, with a maximum age of 37 years for individuals.

The ensembles must demonstrate historically informed performance practice and play repertory from any period, spanning the Middle Ages to the 19th century, on period instruments.

Sollazzo Ensemble: “Winning the competition was a turning point in our career”

The competition is recognised as a major international platform for emerging talent in the world of early music. Attracting musicians from all over the globe, it offers a boost to young professional careers with opportunities for performance, recording and broadcasting and international exposure. 

NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “We are so pleased to be staging the 2022 competition, which brings together young musicians of the highest calibre from the UK and all over the world. 

“This is one of highlights of the York Early Music Festival and we are always overwhelmed by the superb quality of the performances from these fantastically talented young artists. The competition provides a joyous, optimistic finale to our festival and we are delighted to be able give these rising stars many exciting future opportunities.”

2019 winners L’Apothéose say: “Winning the York competition was an extremely important and prestigious recognition of our career, and taking part was an immensely joyful experience.” 

Fellow former winners Sollazzo Ensemble enthuse: “Winning the competition was a turning point in our career, bringing us to the attention of both a wider audience and professionals throughout Europe.”

Details of how to apply can be found at yorkcomp.ncem.co.uk; alternatively, send an email to yorkcomp@ncem.co.uk.

Ensemble Molière are first New Generation Baroque Ensemble with NCEM, Royal College of Music and BBC Radio 3 support

Ensemble Molière: First New Generation Baroque Ensemble

ENSEMBLE Molière will be the first New Generation Baroque Ensemble from October, backed by the National Centre for Early Music, York, BBC Radio 3 and the Royal College of Music.

The new scheme will showcase and nurture exceptional British-based ensembles in the early years of their professional careers in the baroque sphere, supporting them to new heights of professionalism and artistry over two years, using the range of expertise, performance and recording opportunities available through each partner organisation.

A new group will join the programme in 2023 to begin a new two-year programme, helping to encourage UK Baroque ensembles of the future, supporting artists at a crucial stage in their careers. 

Comprising five musicians playing on historic instruments, Ensemble Molière combine flute, violin, bassoon, viola da gamba/cello and harpsichord in creative programmes from the 17th and 18th century repertoire, performed at many of the leading Baroque and Early Music festivals.

Chosen through a non-competitive process to become the first New Generation Baroque Ensemble, ensemble musicians Flavia Harte, Alice Earll, Catriona McDermid, Kate Conway and Satoko Doi-Luck can build on their early success through residencies at the NCEM and Royal College of Music (RCM) and a regular presence on BBC Radio 3, enabling them to further develop their professional skills, reputation, profile and artistry.

BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show will feature Ensemble Molière on Sunday, September 19 at 2pm in the first of a series of regular updates, performances and features about the group.

Ensemble Molière say: “We are thrilled and honoured to be appointed the first ever BBC New Generation Baroque Ensemble and to become part of the New Generation family. We are looking forward to collaborating with the wonderful team from three organisations – BBC, RCM and NCEM – as well as to the opportunities and experiences we will enjoy on the scheme, including live performances and broadcasts.

“It will be a fantastic springboard for Ensemble Molière and will help us reach the next step as a group. We are very grateful to the New Generation Baroque Ensemble team for their support.”

“Ensemble Molière have an amazing future ahead of them,” says NCEM director Delma Tomlin

NCEM director Delma Tomlin says: “We are thrilled to be part of this UK-based venture that takes place over the next two years and we look forward to welcoming Ensemble Molière, who will be performing in our festivals in Beverley and York.  

“It’s wonderful to be working with the Royal College of Music and BBC Radio 3 once again and this is a fabulous opportunity for Ensemble Molière, who have an amazing future ahead of them.”

BBC Radio 3 controller Alan Davey says: “For some time, we have been keen to see if we can offer help and support to UK-based period-instrument ensembles in the early stages of their careers to allow them to develop and thrive with the same kind of spirit of innovation and adventure we see in the best ensembles across the world.  

“With this new scheme – as with our hugely successful New Generation Artists and New Generation Thinkers programmes – we want to support the best new talent and by working in partnership with the chosen Baroque ensembles and with the NCEM and RCM, we hope to build an even richer world of  ambitious, innovative  and thrillingly excellent music-making for the future.

“We are delighted to welcome Ensemble Molière and look forward to working with them over the coming years to bring their extraordinary music to wider audiences.”

Professor Ashley Solomon, head of historical performance at the Royal College of Music, says: “I am absolutely delighted that together with our colleagues at the NCEM and BBC Radio 3 we have appointed Ensemble Moliere as the first ensemble in the New Generation Baroque Ensemble scheme that we are now launching.

“Nurturing and inspiring the new generation of historical performers is part of our ethos at the Royal College of Music and I look forward to working with and mentoring the players in this exceptional ensemble. We hope that this unique opportunity will help support and enable them to thrive.”

Ensemble Molière’s musicians are:  Flavia Hirte, flute; Alice Earll, violin; Catriona McDermid, bassoon; Kate Conway, viola da gamba/cello, and Satoko Doi-Luck, harpsichord.



Delyth Field and Jacob Fitzgerald win NCEM Young Composers Awards prizes in York

Young Composers Award winner Delyth Field with Palisander at the National Centre for Early Music, York

DELYTH Field and Jacob Fitzgerald have won the 14th National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award prizes.

Presented in partnership with BBC Radio 3, the finals were streamed last night (13/5/2021) from the NCEM in York. 

Delyth Field won the age 19 to 25 category with “Kagura Suite for Recorders”, inspired by Kagura, the oldest form of dance in Japan.

Jacob Fitzgerald won the age 18 and under category with “murmuration”, composed in response to the natural dance performed by starlings across the skyscape.

Young composers living in the United Kingdom were invited to create a new work for recorder quartet based on dance-forms from across all eras and cultures. Although they were writing for instruments from the Baroque era, they were not limited to dance forms of that period. 

The eight finalists’ compositions were performed by recorder quartet Palisander after a day-long workshop at the NCEM led by composer Christopher Fox, professor of music at Brunel University, working alongside Palisander and the shortlisted composers.

Mollie Carlyle, Delyth Field and Lux Knightley took part in the 19 to 25 category; Jacob Fitzgerald,  Matty Oxtoby, Adam Spry, Shuchen Xie and Shoshana Yugin-Power in the younger final. 

The 2021 panel of judges were BBC Radio 3 producer Les Pratt, NCEM director Dr Delma Tomlin and Palisander.

Young Composers Award winner Jacob Fitzgerald with recorder quartet Palisander after last night’s final

“Kagura Suite for Recorders” and “murmuration” will be premiered by Palisander at St John’s Smith Square, London, as part of the London Festival of Baroque Music, where the September 20 performance will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Early Music Show.

Delma said: “The NCEM Young Composers Award continues to attract composers of the highest calibre from all over the UK and the standard of compositions this year was extremely high.  I’d like to congratulate all our composers for their impressive work, and we hope that they enjoyed this unique and rewarding experience. 

“Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we had to stage last year’s awards online, so we were especially thrilled to be able to welcome young composers to our home of St Margaret’s Church in Walmgate. As always, I would like to say a massive thank-you to my fellow judges and the fabulous Palisander, who will perform the pieces at St John’s Smith Square on September 20.

“Last but not least, I would like thank our partners, BBC Radio 3, for their continued and invaluable support, which enables us to continue presenting these important awards.”

Alan Davey, controller of BBC Radio 3 and classical music, said: “We are proud to support the NCEM’s Young Composers Awards once again as part of Radio 3’s mission to find and support young talent and to promote new music, in this case work inspired by early music.

“The project reflects the excellence of young talent and the quality of work that young composers are producing. We warmly congratulate the winners and look forward to sharing performances of their works later this year on the Early Music Show.”

The streamed performance is available to watch at youngcomposersaward.co.uk/2021 and the Facebook page, @yorkearlymusic.